If you’ve ever read Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, or seen the award-winning TV series Little House on the Prairie, you have been influenced by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s work. These stories are based on Laura’s own childhood experiences living in Kansas and Wisconsin and provide insight into 19th century life on the frontier.
Although most people are familiar with stories from Laura’s childhood (her books are based on Laura’s own childhood experiences), not many know what happened later on in Laura’s life. As told in her books Little Town on the Prairie and These Happy Golden Years, Laura married Almanzo Wilder and moved to De Smet, South Dakota. Before she was married, Laura worked as a school teacher since age 15[edit by contributor], worked with the local dressmaker, and attended high school.
Laura had two children, a girl named Rose and a boy who died in infancy. This heartache was just one of the many trials Laura and Almanzo experienced during their early years of marriage. Almanzo was left partially paralyzed from an illness, their barn caught fire and destroyed most of their hay and grain, another fire burned their house down, and a drought severely damaged their crops.
The couple then moved to Mansfield, Missouri where Laura worked for a loan company as well as a writer for the local paper. It was here that she gained most of her writing experience that came in handy years later when the family lost most of their money in the Stock Market crash (1929). With the help and encouragement of her daughter, Rose, she published her first book Little House in the Big Woods three years later.
Since the original publication of the book, Little House in the Big Woods had been in print continuously and has been translated into 40 different languages.1 This provided the Wilder family with the continuous income they needed to recover from all the money they lost during the Stock Market crash.
Laura died at the age of 90—eight years after Almanzo passed away. She was buried alongside her husband in Mansfield, Missouri.
Want to learn more about Laura Ingalls Wilder? Read more here.
1 Laura Ingalls Wilder, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Ingalls_Wilder.
Guest Blog Post By Brandon Jensen
Throughout life one cannot help to think of the great legacy their ancestors have left before them. The amazing ancestral mysteries of who, where, and why my life is.
Life can bring complicated and yet challenging adventures with landsides of opportunities and options to choose from. For most people, choices can be simple and easy, and for others challenging and hard thought process. But, what would life be or what has life become through formalities of the thought process of choices. After all, all paths lead to somewhere or something great or small.
Why is genealogy important:
Genealogy is important because it helps satisfy the inward persona, the deep need to understand the world around us and how we fit it in. Also, may we not forget the importance of learning from others through the experience they’ve gained, may we also learn from them.
Benefits of doing genealogy:
Genealogy is a popular pastime. I’m always impressed to learn or find something new that transpired from descendants, to the little settled integrates that granted outcomes from choices made throughout their life. It grants great joy knowing the outcome of hardship and challenges our ancestors faced, and by knowing the great and amazing mysteries of who, where, and why.
May we remember there is never been a better time than know to get a jump start on our genealogical New Year’s resolution!
Motto: Life was and is what we make it! – Past, Present, and Future!Read More
Guest Blog Post BY PATRICK WILLIAMS:
When I was a young child, I learned about Genealogy from my Grandmother. My teachers and leaders at church would always talk about it. Growing up as a Mormon, it was talked about a lot in regards to Temple work and the action of “Redeeming the Dead”. As soon as they started talking about “Genealogy” I would automatically tune out!
So my fellow Genealogy nuts, lets talk about the 5 reasons why your Grandma-ma wants you to do Genealogy and why we will convince all the cool Hipsters to stop hanging out on Instagram, and start hanging out on BillionGraves instead!
#5- Genealogy work is just so boringggggggggg!
Oh contraire! This couldn’t be further from the truth. Do me a solid, and go ask your Grandparents, or your parents about how they met. Go ask them about their parents or their great grand parents. The stories that they will tell you about where you came from will not only blow your mind, but they will give you such a great appreaction for your heritage and your own very blood line.
When we read about the hardships, tragedies, and triumphs of our ancestors, it makes us realize how relatively easy we have it, and how fortunate we are. And it gives us a real sense of debt and gratitude.
#4 Why do the Genealogy agony?
Because it gives YOU a lever to pry simple questions about you out of your own parents. What do you and your parents have in common here? We now know that, if the family history is to be saved at all, this late, with the old folks passing on, the time is now or never, and we want to save what we can while we can.
If, years from now, someone in the next generation wants to REALLY dig into the family stuff, at least we must give him or her a good, solid, scaffolding from which to begin, preferably with lots of interesting family stories too.
# 3 where do I even start?
This can be the most difficult question, but with amazing resources such as BillionGraves it makes starting very easy. How easy is it you ask?? You can install the genealogy camera app on your iPhone, android or GPS-enabled phone to record grave marker locations worldwide! You can Transcribe & Search grave images for free on the Billiongraves.com website! That’s just as easy as posting a picture of your food from Café Rio you took the other day with the hashtag #soyummy!
What started out as a “simple” project has now become all consuming. One of the nicest things to happen from this research is how you can spend hours and hours talking to your parents about your “finds” as opposed to talking about their health. The bottom line is I now enjoy playing detective and sharing my finds with any and all relatives who care to have the information.
#2 I would rather text and take pictures on Instagram!
Ok all you “hipster” kids. Do me a favor, take out your phone and search for the #hashtag #graves on Instagram and or Facebook or Twitter. You will be amazed at all of the amazing photos and rich history of the Millions and Millions of gravestones that are being uploaded on a daily and hourly basis.
Just to give you an idea of how cool and fun this work is, Genealogy websites are receiving millions and millions of hits every single day!
#1 I don’t want to learn about my family!
Now, in my humble opinion, this is just plain dumb. After everything is said and done in this life, all we have is our family and maybe a few close friends.
How people went from one side of our country to the other with the slow moving vehicles–how they existed–what their trials, loves, and happiness’s were, etc.
So all my “Hipster” friends- it’s very simple and easy to get started. Pick up your iPhone and go to www.billiongraves.com and get started today!
What where are some challenges and questions you may have had when you first got started doing this work? Please leave your comments below! Let’s start a great conversation!
If you have any questions about starting your own project or feedback, contact them at email@example.com.
About the Author: Patrick Williams
Patrick Williams is an SEO Specialist and avid Blogger. When not slaving over google search results and building links to the god’s of the internet, Patrick is a single dad to an adorable little boy. He also coaches high school soccer, and is an avid sports fan. He also has many leather bound books, that smell of rich mahogany. He is also fluent in the Cambodian language.Read More
For the new year we wanted to do something special this week and highlight a guest blogger on BillionGraves today; Jason W. Crews from TheTexasGenealogist.com. `
Jason is a passionate genealogist, born and raised in Grand Prairie Texas. A new volunteer to BillionGraves this last month, he has already spent countless hours volunteering and helping others create projects and help others in their quests to find their families. We are happy to have Jason writing for us today! Take it away Jason!
BillionGraves is the fastest, easiest, and most efficient way to gather headstone data in the world. A single volunteer can collect over 500 images in a just one hour, a well-organized group can photograph an entire cemetery in a single afternoon. The volunteers doing the legwork are the heart of the project!
To spearhead the project, select a project coordinator. It’s important to find a local cemetery that has not already been photographed in order to avoid duplication. To do this, quickly look up the cemetery on BillionGraves Cemetery Search to see if it has already been documented. If you are new to BillionGraves yourself, before you take a large group to the cemetery you should go out and take a few pictures in order to be better able to answer questions. Make sure that all of your volunteer photographers have the BillionGraves app loaded on their iPhone or Android smartphone BEFORE you go to the cemetery.
During the project the project coordinator should NOT take pictures. He/She should organize the group and be available to answer questions and direct the group. Teach your volunteer photographers how to take pictures, link successive images, and upload images.
Volunteers without smartphones can help by clearing grass, flowers or debris off each headstone before each picture is taken. This job is an important one; taking pictures goes much more quickly if the headstones are ready with all the information visible.
Things to remember when planning a project:
- Avoid casting a shadow. When a shadow only covers part of the stone, it can make the part in the shade difficult to read in a photo.
- Avoid the sun if you can. It’s not always possible, but if you can, take photos in indirect light early morning, late evening, or overcast days work best.
- Include all important information in the photo frame. Make sure names, dates, etc. are all included.
- Link together images of each side of the headstone that has information.
- Most importantly, HAVE FUN!!
If you have any questions about starting your own project or feedback, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More
It’s a new month and a new year so we’re starting a brand-new contest. Introducing the monthly Win the Pin contest!
Each month you’ll get the chance to compete for the unique pin of the month. All you have to do to win the pin is to upload or transcribe enough images for BillionGraves to get a spot on the leaderboard by the end of the month. Those 50 Uploaders and 50 Transcribers will be the lucky winners of that month’s pin.
We were blown away by how many new records were created in 2013 by all of our dedicated uploaders and transcribers—it was our best year yet! Let’s make 2014 even bigger and better. Will you make it your New Year’s resolution to get on the on the leaderboard each month?
How many pins can YOU win?
Here is our very first pin for the month of January:
Keep an eye on the leaderboard this month to make sure you get to win this pin. Happy BillionGraves-ing!
-Make sure you have permission and are welcome to take pictures in your local cemetery before doing so. Remember, private cemeteries require permission of the owner before taking any pictures.
-Winners will be announced at the end of the month on the BillionGraves blog. Prizes must be claimed by the 15th of the following month via email to qualify for shipment of prizes.
-Promotion is open to all to participate for free. Registration is required.
-More than one individual may contribute to a single account, however, the limit is one prize redemption per BillionGraves account.
-Items will ship in 6-8 weeks after contest closes for winners in the U.S. Please allow 8-12 for winners outside the U.S.
-Recipients will be required to provide a mailing address for physical items.
-All images must be uploaded/transcribed no later than midnight (GMT) on January 31, 2014.